FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Atlantic premiers and the region’s representatives in the federal cabinet met today to strengthen federal-provincial co-operation and identify opportunities to further advance the interests of the region.

“We are pleased that the premiers and ministers accepted the invitation to meet to discuss the Atlantic economy,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “Today’s meeting provided a platform for us to collectively share positive examples of what is going on in our region when it comes to job creation while discussing ideas on how we can work together to overcome our shared challenges.”

Strengthening the regional economy, creating jobs and addressing the unique needs of Atlantic Canadians were some of the highlights from today’s discussions.

“The region has similar economic challenges and opportunities and we have a unique chance to work together to create jobs and improve the quality of life for Atlantic Canadians,” said Federal Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc. “By working together we can overcome our collective challenges and tackle common issues more effectively.”

Gallant was joined by Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan. Federal government representatives included LeBlanc, Treasury Board President Scott Brison, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, who is also minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball and Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote participated in the discussions by video conference.

Discussions focused on opportunities to grow the region’s population while addressing demographic challenges, climate change and strengthening support for health care and services for seniors.

The premiers and ministers also discussed the economic growth agendas of their respective governments and how they could work together on job creation by:

  • investing strategically in infrastructure to help ensure smaller provinces and rural Canada can fully participate;
  • encouraging innovation to help traditional industries to compete and develop the new economy;
  • discussing ways of increasing immigration in Atlantic Canada;
  • improving collaboration between the federal and provincial governments to create better economic development plans and to foster innovation in partnership with ACOA; and
  • developing tourism opportunities in the Atlantic region to help stimulate the region’s economy.

The group committed to meet again to continue the momentum in growing the Atlantic economy.